Acura just gave its RDX SUV an update, which means the luxury brand can switch gears and spend some time on the bigger MDX, which happens to be its best-selling vehicle. Although these shots show the vehicle heavily-cladded, it appears the styling changes will be evolutionary, possibly even more conservative than the current model and its controversial "shield" grille.

Bigger changes could be coming under the skin in the form of a direct-injected V-6 and, possibly, hybrid technology. According to Automobile Magazine, the transmission on the new model could have as many as nine speeds, courtesy of ZF's new 9HP transmission. It's also believed that the brand's trademark Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system could be dropped in favor of a simpler system or an electric motor powering the rear axle as part of a hybrid all-wheel-drive system.

As was the case with the compact ILX sedan, it's believed the new MDX will be initially be revealed in "concept" form and officially shown in production trim a few months later. The new MDX is expected to go on sale in early calendar 2013 as a 2014 model.

Click over to Motor Trend to see the full gallery of spy photos.